- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Republican county commissioner candidate was among three arrested Wednesday during a church-led outdoor singing protest in front of the City Hall in Moscow, Idaho.

Christ Church hosted a “flash psalm sing” where more than 150 people sang Christian hymns in the Moscow City Hall parking lot, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported.

Latah County Commission candidate Gabriel Rench, a Republican running against Democratic incumbent Tom Lamar, was one of three people arrested for allegedly refusing officers’ orders and one of five people cited for allegedly violating the city’s mask and social distancing order, which doesn’t expire until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Rench aired a clip of his arrest on his “CrossPolitic Studios” podcast, in which he said he refused to give officers his driver’s license despite repeated requests.

“I said, ‘You don’t need to do this, you don’t need to write me a ticket,’” he recalled on the podcast.



In the clip of his arrest, as the parishioners continued to sing, Mr. Rench asked the arresting officers, “At what point do you protect your people against tyranny?”

The officers said in the video that Mr. Rench was being arrested in “violation of the city’s ordinance 20-3.”

Mr. Rench was later released and not charged with allegedly refusing to identify himself to police, Moscow Police Chief James Fry told the Daily News.

Two of the five cited for not wearing masks were arrested for suspicion of resisting or obstructing an officer, the newspaper reported.

The five cited are subject to a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum punishment of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ben Zornes, a Christ Church pastor and organizer of the event, said he warned attendees that they could be cited by police.

“We wanted to make a statement we’re ready to head back to normal,” Mr. Zornes told the Daily News.

He said he believes the orders are “largely groundless” and should be challenged.

PJ Media pointed out that there have been no deaths or hospitalizations related to the coronavirus in Latah County.

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